Center for Urban Health
Enhancing Community Wellness Through Research
The central theme of the Center for Urban Health is
The goal is to enhance the health of cities by focusing on communities and the environment.
A number of critical human health issues are unique to cities. These include environmental
legacies like contamination and exposure to harmful pollutants, urban community
disparities stemming from both social and physical factors, inadequate access to
quality health care due to safety and transportation realities, poor alignment of
community resources and social structure to promote healthy lifestyles, and future
threats including climate change impacts in cities.
The Center for Urban Health will promote discovery by building research collaborations
among Center Investigators,
providing seed funds for new research areas, funding graduate fellowships, and sponsoring
educational activities such as public lectures and a Visiting Scholars Program.
Squandered Indiana: Ill Wind
Digging in the Dirt to Make Soil Safe
The Center for Urban Health was recently cited for our safe soil and gardening project.
Soil Samples Reveal Urban Mercury Footprints
Indianapolis, St. Louis, Detroit, Buffalo, Richmond and Providence -- cities scattered
across the eastern half of the United States -- have something in common, all have
coal-fired power plants. A new study from the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue
University Indianapolis is among the first to investigate mercury deposits in industrialized
city soil near this type of facility. The study, which appears in the July 2011
issue of the journal Water, Air & Soil Pollution, reports that measurable amounts
of the mercury emitted by coal-fired power plants is deposited in local soil and
subsequently enters regional watersheds, contaminating fish and making them unsafe
for human consumption.
"Mercury from coal-fired power plants has been found in the ice at the North and
the South Poles, so the fact that these noxious emissions are swept far away to
other areas or even continents, with global environmental impact, is well known.
What had not been previously shown is the impact of the mercury on the environments
in cities, suburbs and rural areas near specific coal-burning power plants," said
senior author Gabriel M. Filippelli, Ph.D., professor of Earth Sciences at the School
of Science at IUPUI and Director of the Center for Urban Health. Coal-fired power
plants produce electricity at a relatively low cost. This is false economy, according
to Filippelli, because these cost figures do not factor in the impact of these plants
on human health.